Thursday, November 29, 2007

Locations and Purposes of Debate

1) Presidential Debate
-location: on TV
-purpose: help viewers to decide who they want to elect
-help?: yes
-structured/no: structured
-effect: Viewers hear topics they care about discussed by people with varying viewpoints, and so they get a better idea of who they want as president.

2) Competitive Debate
-location: School
-purpose: Test and challenge the debating skills of students willing to compete
-help?: yes
-structured/no: structured
-effect: Students offer a different approach from those of the actual decision makers, giving perspective to whatever issue is being discussed.

3) Formal Debate between two friends
-location: Tree in a Californian forest waiting for a rescue crew
-purpose: Convince one another of the likelihood (or nonexistence) of global warming.
-help?: no. at best, one will acknowledge that the other is somewhat correct-few people would completely surrender their beliefs so easily.
-structured/no: not structured
-effect: Each is more knowledgeable than when they began, and can go on to make further deliberations on their own.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Quarter 2 outside reading week 2

Part I:

Vitality (110)
-lively and animated character

Conviviality (90)
-fondness towards drinking, feasting, and socializing

Part II:

"...Last thing we wanna do is cause any undue panic around here." (122) This quote is very important, because it serves as an ironic bridge from the previous hum-drum backwater feel of the first section into what appears to be a tense period in the novel. In most of the diplomats' eyes, colonel Munn (the man delivering the line) is an imbecile; and this statement only serves to reinforce this idea. The quote came after the rebels from the north of Kutar had flanked the front lines of the Alliance's army (the fictional version of the U.N.) and invaded the capitol, forcing citizens, soldiers, and ambassadors to flee. This assault came as the result of the colonel's own plan to make a statement in the desert against the rebels, and show some American gusto. His character is one that I find to be so irritating, with his Southern drawl, and "Let's go shoot some foreigners" attitude. His ignorance towards the nation of Kutar only serves to put him deeper into an element that is not his, and already has his coworkers disliking him. What is even more annoying is that back home in the U.S. the media is portraying him as a war hero; the fictional version of the savior Petraeus (of course he is anything but). The main character David Richards shares my viewpoint (this was probably the author's intention) as he has already cultivated a deep dislike for the colonel early on in section 2.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Quarter 2 Outside Reading Week 1

Part I:
1) Attache(14)
A person who is attached to an authority's administrative staff.

Performed as a routine duty; without intense care.

Part II:
In response to the character of David Richards, I feel that, while he is the hero, the author intends to very much make him as normal as possible. He has capabilities that place him above more normal people, be it in his "enlightened" view on things, or his ability to woo members of the opposite sex, but at the same time, he finds himself in difficult situations. For example, he accidentally lets it slip that he will be leaving the country of Kutar to head back to the U.S. soon, and then immediately regrets it; "..'You're leaving soon, no?' David nodded, started to answer, but then he saw Nicky's stricken look as he peered out from the shade. 'You're leaving?' The boy asked." (29) He is very much human, making mistakes, and having weaknesses and faults: just like almost any movie star seducer, he doesn't want people to get too close to him, only opening up to an intimate few; his friend Paolo, and the boy Nicky. At this point in time, his role doesn't seem very important (yet) as he is just another employee for the U.S. embassy to Kutar, a quiet, dull country in the middle east. This makes his character a little boring at least as far as action is concerned; he is just another person who could be affected by the coming conflict. I find his everyday life to be more interesting, especially in the way he interacts with other people; he's a charmer, but at the same time gets tired of things easily and so carries himself in a way that is almost uppity. He doesn't want to be troubled with pretending to be like so many of the other people around him, and this places his character on a seemingly different level to the others.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Second Quarter Outside Reading: Moonlight Hotel

Moonlight Hotel
by Scott Anderson.
copyright 2006.
work of Fiction.
419 pages.

Evidence of reading level:
"By contrast, the crisis seemed to have had an energizing effect on the residents of Laradan-understandable, perhaps, in a city normally so dull that a minor traffic accident could keep hundreds of onlookers enthralled for hours. To be sure, the military disaster in Erbil had generated much greater concern than the previous one, but this was offset by a fascination with the changes that this disaster had brought. In each of the capital's half-dozen parks, tent camps had been erected for those northern refugees coming in over Gowarshad pass, and for the Westernized Laradanis, the opportunity to stroll these camps and observe the inhabitants in their colorful traditional dress was rather like visiting some vast ethnographical zoo." (91)

This book appealed to me because of the interesting cover and the back page; there is violence and combat, love and seduction, and an immediate feel of tension before the book has even started. I haven't read a suspense novel in a while, so this is a nice change of pace.